Upon ascending to office, President William Ruto embarked on various reforms at the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) with the aim of improving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
In consequence, the national insurer published the proposed National Health Insurance Fund Regulations 2023, which proposes salary deductions of 2.75 per cent for employed Kenyans.
Despite the increased deductions for top earners (those earning Ksh35,000 and above), Kenyans with chronic diseases and the unemployed will benefit immensely as detailed below;
Coverage for Chronic Diseases
Kenyans with chronic diseases will be among the biggest beneficiaries of the proposed regulations should the proposals be passed.
In the proposed cover, patients with diseases such as cancer and diabetes will receive medication even after they deplete the limits of their benefit.
"A beneficiary suffering from a chronic illness shall, upon exhaustion of his or her benefit limits, access treatment for the chronic illness from a public health care provider subject to the applicable benefits package.
"A beneficiary referred to in paragraph (1) shall access treatment for the chronic illness if there are no arrears in the contributions in favour of the beneficiary," reads the regulations in part.
Transfer of Benefits to Spouses and Kin at Time of Death
Under the proposed regulations, health benefits will be transferred to spouses and their children should a person die.
"The Fund shall reallocate contributions for a deregistered person to the surviving spouse who is a declared beneficiary. Where a deregistered person has no surviving spouse and has pre-paid contributions, the beneficiaries shall continue to access benefits until the end of the period for which the contributions have been paid," read the proposal in part.
Payment for Unemployed and Vulnerable Kenyans
One of the reasons Ruto has used when pushing for the NHIF reforms is the coverage that poor unemployed Kenyans will get
The regulations propose that this category of Kenyans will be covered by State Department for Social Protection and Senior Citizens.
"Upon receipt of the list under paragraph, the Board shall notify the persons listed thereto that they are eligible as beneficiaries of the Fund.
"The amount payable by the National Government on behalf of indigent and vulnerable persons shall be Ksh13,300," read the Regulations in part
As of December 2022, the unemployment rate in Kenya was put at 4.9 per cent by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The proposed regulations are due for public participation.